In the early 1900's, the town of Pittsburg, Kansas was an up and coming coal mining community. With immigrants moving in to seek a new life in the coal mining industry the town's population was rising. Increasing numbers in population meant that although jobs were opening up, there were not enough jobs for the increasing number of people to make a living. Advancement in mining techniques and technologies also put people out of work. .
Public welfare organizations started to become more prominent during this time and accomplished tasks that aided the community. These tasks were such things as helping out the poor and needy in the community who did not have jobs, or were working in the coal mines but did not make enough to live on. These organizations also helped with the development of the community so as the population increased new structures, parks, and landscaping arose as well. Public welfare organizations in Pittsburg were prominent in aiding the coal mining communities and by understanding this, one can learn more about the development of public welfare and the community. .
Crawford and Cherokee counties were built upon coal mining and with the industry growing, people were migrating to these small towns from all over the world. They moved here from England, Germany, and Ireland searching for work and a better life and when they came in the late 1800s and early 1900s the population of Crawford and Cherokee counties greatly increased. These foreign-born immigrants migrated to the region because of political and social conditions that were surrounding them in their native countries. Upon their arrival in Crawford and Cherokee counties, many of the immigrants were greeted with jobs in the quickly growing coal mining industry. This industry would be responsible for creating Pittsburg, as we know it today, and many communities in Southeast Kansas. .
Southeast Kansas coal mining industries provided coal for much of the nation, and in the early 1900's coal was a large source for generating electricity, heating homes and powering trains.